Be a Helper!

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”

– Fred Rogers

Dear Parents and Friends,

As families gather all over our land for Thanksgiving, we must remember those who don’t have the comforts and freedoms that many of us are provided in this country.  Thanksgiving is that time that brings most of our country together in the spirit of welcoming one another home and rekindling the family ties and love that binds us.  One of camp’s values is simplicity and that first Thanksgiving started out as a simple welcoming gesture extended to the Pilgrims by Samoset, a chief of the Eastern Abenaki tribe.  That welcome came from a group who had every reason to be fearful.

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Acceptance is another value we treasure here at camp and that is played out in the work to bring diversity to our camper and staff ranks.  As Paris and other cities struck by terrorism, takes a place in our thoughts this holiday season, we all must strive to understand one another and seek out the peace that our world so desperately needs.  Through the ages our country has been a beacon and refuge for those wanting a better life and where fear is not lurking over your shoulder.  Let us keep our thoughts and prayers focused on those who don’t have a home to go to or a country to live in.

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While uncertainty surrounds us sometimes, we must remember what Fred Rogers’ mother told him, “Look for the helpers”.  We must look for and be the helpers in a servant leadership role that each of us have in us.   We are thankful for your children who attend Gwynn Valley.  We are grateful  for our own families here at work and we wish you all the best this Thanksgiving holiday.  May the “simple joys” surround you and yours in the days ahead.

Grant Sails Into Wilmington!


Dear GV Families and Friends,

I was in Wilmington, NC last night for a show hosted by the Jean and Connor Keller and their three daughters, Callie, Jeannie and Diana. The girls invited friends and classmates, and we had a great turn out. Everyone enjoyed talking about camp and viewing our new video and video highlights from 2015!  In true Gwynn Valley style, all the children took home a piece of the farm in the form of popcorn grown on site.We raise the corn during the late summer and it was harvested about a month ago. It was a great evening in a great NC city with a lot of history.

I’ll be in Winston Salem tonight and hope to folks there!


New “You Rock Supercamper Video” and More!

Dear Parents, Campers and Friends,

Greetings from camp and hope all is well out there in homeland.  Downtown GV has been bustling in the past few weeks and even without campers here, lots of work is going on.  Andy, Maggie, Anne and Grant have all been out on the promo trail and will continue to do so in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving.  Come out and see us at one of our shows, view our new promotional video, get a copy of last summer’s highlights video and take home some farm grown GV popcorn that was just harvested a few weeks ago.

Speaking of video we just put out our 2015 “You Rock Supercamper Video” and it’s on the homepage of our website (  It was a fun project and makes me want to start our 2016 season tomorrow.  Who will join me?  It might be a bit cold.  Another Fall/Winter project will be to update our website with some changes that will take place into the new year.

As our weather cools we are making some improvements to various parts of camp and beginning to order gear for the summer.  Chestnut Hollow will be getting a bit of a facelift.  We drained the Lake several weeks ago to get a track hoe in to dig out a portion of the lake for a rope swing we hope to install sometime in winter or early Spring.  We’re also hoping to put a roof on the climbing tower for next summer so stay tuned for news about that.

Probably our biggest news is the beginning of our Young Leaders program which will kick off next summer.  Young Leaders is a leadership program focusing on whole person development to help teens transition from the role of camper to camp leader. The program will combine elements of leadership training, community building, service work, learning opportunities, first aid training, skill development, and age appropriate fun! Young Leaders will be given greater responsibility than in previous camper years under the guidance and supervision of 2 dedicated staff.  We’re excited to get this program underway and looking forward to having our first participants this summer.

Lots happening here at GV, so stay tuned!